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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Bleeding in Eye)

What is a Subconjunctival Hemorrhage?

  • The conjunctiva is the thin, moist, transparent membrane that covers the white part of the eye (called the sclera) and the inside of the eyelids.
  • The conjunctiva is the outermost protective coating of the eyeball.
  • The conjunctiva contains nerves and many small blood vessels.
  • These blood vessels are usually barely visible but become larger and more visible if the eye is inflamed.
  • These blood vessels are somewhat fragile, and their walls may break easily, resulting in a subconjunctival hemorrhage (bleeding under the conjunctiva).
  • A subconjunctival hemorrhage appears as a bright red or dark red patch on the sclera.

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage Causes

Most subconjunctival hemorrhages are spontaneous without an obvious cause for this bleeding from the conjunctival vessels. Often, a person may discover a subconjunctival hemorrhage on awakening and looking in the mirror. Most spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhages are first noticed by another person seeing a red spot on your eye.

The following can occasionally result in a spontaneous subconjunctival hemorrhage:

Subconjunctival hemorrhage can also be non-spontaneous and result from a severe eye infection, trauma to the head or eye, or after eye or eyelid surgery.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/2/2015

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Patient Comments & Reviews

The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Subconjunctival Hemorrhage (Bleeding in Eye):

Bleeding in Eye - Treatment

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Subconjunctival Hemorrhage - Patient Experience

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eye redness

Other Bleeding in Eye - Hyphema

What is Hyphema (Bleeding in Eye)?

Blunt trauma to the eye can cause bleeding in the front (or anterior chamber) of the eye between the cornea and the iris. This bleeding into the anterior chamber of the eye is called a hyphema.

Read What Your Physician is Reading on Medscape

Subconjunctival Hemorrhage »

Subconjunctival hemorrhage is defined as blood between the conjunctiva and the sclera, and it is involved in the differential diagnosis of a red eye.

Read More on Medscape Reference »

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